After a wild and crazy afternoon yesterday which saw tempers flare and tension rising, the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds will battle for a series win at Great American Ballpark this afternoon. First pitch is at 1:10 ET.

Starting Pitchers

REDS

Right-hander Jeff Hoffman makes his Reds debut this afternoon. The Reds traded Robert Stephenson and Jameson Hannah to the Colorado Rockies for him in November. His career numbers aren’t great, but he has spent his entire career in Colorado. He was the ninth overall draft pick in 2014, so he has to have some talent, however. That leaves the question: how much of his struggles were due to Coors Field?

As a fringe player trying to make the team, Hoffman pitched a lot during spring training. In 18.0 innings, he gave up 17 runs on 20 hits, including three home runs. He also walked seven. If you’re looking for a bright spot, he did strike out 16 batters. If you’re wondering why the Reds traded for him, well, he ranks in the 83rd percentile for fastball spin and the 55th percentile for curveball spin. Spincinnati strikes again. Hoffman’s in the rotation temporarily until Sonny Gray or Michael Lorenzen returns, but we’ll see if Derek Johnson can work his magic on him.

Hoffman only has three pitches: a four-seam fastball, a change up and a curve. His fastball tops out in the 94 mph range and is his primary pitch. He uses the change-up mostly to lefties, but his curve ball has the largest whiff rate of the three at 36.0% (albeit at a smaller sample size).

CARDINALS

As bad as Hoffman was in 2020, Carlos Martínez might have been worse. However, he did spend most of the 60-game season on the 10-day injured list. He pitched about 20.0 innings in September, but got rocked in almost every start. He went back on the 10-day injured list at the end of September for an oblique strain. It just never came together for him last season.

Of the five games he appeared in last season, his best performance probably came against the Reds on September 13. He pitched four innings and gave up three runs on six hits, including one home run. He walked two and struck out eight. The Reds ended up winning that game, in what would be the first win of the six-game winning streak to put them into the playoffs.

Martínez has five pitches in his arsenal, but mostly uses his four-seam fastball and his slider. The slider has been one of his best pitches since he added it in 2017. His whiff rate with it has consistently been close to or over 40 percent in the last three years, with the exception of last year.

Martínez has two All-Star seasons in his career and has been a consistent pitcher throughout his career. He’s bounced back and forth between closer and starter. In 2019, he saved 24 games for the Cardinals as their closer. He has the ability to be a really good pitcher. This afternoon will be the first test for him to see if his struggles were in fact injury-related or indicative of something more.

Stats are from 2020

Name IP ERA FIP xFIP WHIP K% BB%
Jeff Hoffman 21.1 9.28 4.69 5.39 1.92 19.2% 8.7%
Carlos Martinez 20.0 9.90 6.89 5.21 2.10 16.3% 9.6%

Lineups

St. Louis Cardinals

Cincinnati Reds

Tommy Edman – 2B Tyler Naquin – LF
Paul Goldschmidt – 1B Nick Castellanos – RF
Nolan Arenado – 3B Joey Votto – 1B
Paul DeJong – SS Eugenio Suárez – SS
Tyler O’Neill – LF Mike Moustakas – 3B
Yadier Molina – C Nick Senzel – CF
Dylan Carlson – CF Jonathan India – 2B
Justin Williams – RF Tyler Stephenson – C
Carlos Martinez – SP Jeff Hoffman – SP

News and Notes

Jesse Winker is out of the lineup today after leaving the game yesterday while not feeling well. David Bell said this morning (10:30am) that he had not yet spoken to Winker today, but he was out of the lineup based on how he felt yesterday. He hopes to have him available today, but he wasn’t sure yet.

If you missed the news yesterday, Sonny Gray and Shogo Akiyama are both headed to the alternate site in Louisville to rehab their injuries. There’s no stated timetable for either to return yet.

Why was Nick Castellanos ejected yesterday and Yadier Molina wasn’t? Doug Gray breaks it all down for you here.

Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote a piece today about what’s it’s like for the Japanese reporters who have one job: Cover Shogo Akiyama. It’s an interesting look at how things can be when you are only writing about one specific player rather than the entire team.

114 Responses

  1. MBS

    @Ashley when you or they said Winker was not feeling well. We’re we talking sick or injured?

    I like the lineup, might have swapped Senzel and India, but over all solid.

    Reply
    • Doug Gray

      That was me (I know, it’s confusing since Ashley is listed as the author – but sometimes we will double up on the game thread with one person doing parts of it and another doing the other. In this case, I handled some of the news/notes that came out later today, as well as the lineup, while Ashley did the real leg work with the pitcher breakdowns and all of that).

      Winker was feeling ill, not hurt.

      Reply
  2. Klugo

    I really want to be excited for this game for obvious reasons, but it’s hard with Hoffman on the bump. On the bright side though, if he were to earn a short suspension on the way to the showers, we shouldn’t be any worse for it.

    Reply
    • Doc

      He says, as Hoffman spins the best first five innings of the season for the Reds. Sorry you wasted a day of feeling bad for no reason.

      Reply
  3. GreatRedLegsFan

    A 6.40 ERA across 230 innings doesn’t inspire much. If he’d go at least 3 innings & 2 runs or less would be great.

    Reply
    • Mark Moore

      By that standard he’s successful today already then.

      Reply
      • Doc

        In fact, he qualifies as great by the criteria listed!

  4. Sliotar

    Agree with the thoughts above regarding Hoffman.

    Hopefully, he is on a short leash, as there is a chance to win the series, against the team many predicted would win the NL Central.

    Plus, Sims and Garrett have yet to appear in this series, and should have a couple of innings each in them, if need be.

    Go Redlegs.

    Reply
    • MBS

      I also think this is why we haven’t seen Antone yet. The next pitcher needing an early bailout in a winnable game, Antone will come in. Castillo’s game blew up in the first then got worse. No point in burning Antone in that game.

      Reply
      • Doug Gray

        Antone was getting ready on opening day, but didn’t get the call. I can’t recall the exact situation that happened while he was warming up, but I’m guessing the Cardinals padded their lead some more and it just made sense to then go in another direction and save him for another day.

  5. centerfield

    A couple of observations about yesterday’s game: The Umps were pretty bad all the way around. No consistency on B & S, phantom check swing strikes, no control of the game. Tyler Mahle looked good. Tyler Naquin appears to be our best reserve outfielder in some time. Molina should have been ejected for the shove. Baseball continues to discriminate for the established veterans and and punishes the rookies, especially on balls & strikes. I’m already of Larkin as an announcer. Where is Welsh? A good Reds team would come out and score 2 touchdowns today. A bad Reds team will be behind 10-0 before the first commercial break. I hope Hoffman throws a no hitter, but I don’t know if I can bear to watch today.

    Reply
    • Doug Gray

      Larkin is doing the home games on TV. Welsh is going to be doing the road games on TV (and he’ll also be in on some radio broadcasts).

      I thought Larkin was much better yesterday than on Opening Day. That was really the first time he and Sadak had worked together. It’s probably going to take more than a game or two to find what kind of flow works for them. I felt the improvement yesterday, though perhaps it was easier when things were going right instead of terribly wrong from the get go.

      Reply
      • Kindell

        I love Sadak. He is prepared and he asks good questions to attempt to get knowledge out of Larkin. I don’t mind Larkin, I just think he needs some more time in the booth.

        Two references to Talladega Nights in the first inning makes me love him even more.

      • Redsfan4life

        Doug, Do you feel this is a competition between Hoffman, Miley and De Leon for the last spot in the rotation once Lorenzen and Gray come back?
        Or do you think it will be Miley?

      • Doug Gray

        Unless Miley just gets his brains beat in, or one of the other two are just absolutely lights out dominant, I think it’s going to be Miley staying in the rotation and the other two find their way to the bullpen (or maybe the alternate site/Triple-A for De Leon since he has options and his performance may dictate that move).

  6. Mark Moore

    It’s generally a good day when we watch The Neck Tattoo whiff … nice missed bat by Hoffman.

    Now if we could just hit today like the last couple of days.

    Reply
  7. Daytonnati

    Hoffman begins the second time through impressively.

    Reply
    • Tom Mitsoff

      I’m very impressed by his first four innings. I wasn’t expecting much, but at least today the off-speed pitch has been effective and well-located.

      Reply
    • Kevin Patrick

      …I think anything you get over four scoreless innings is a bonus. He’s done a fantastic job.

      Reply
      • TR

        Hoffman could be the unsuspected replacement for Bauer.

  8. Mark Moore

    Starting the 2nd time through and managing it pretty well. Nice whiff to end the inning. At least one more, please. Oh, and will our guys find their bats (and Joey’s wallet)?

    Reply
  9. VaRedsFan

    Super swing by Votto….Hit it wear it was pitched. Pull the down and in pitch in the air.

    Reply
  10. Mark Moore

    Well, we got one run and are at least putting some wood on the ball. Martinez looking a little flustered for a while there after the Suarez BB.

    Reply
  11. Daytonnati

    You KNEW Yadi would come through there, even two strikes down.

    Reply
  12. Mark Moore

    Hoffman ends up pretty solid overall. Can’t lose. Can win if we do our jobs in the bottom of the 5th. Didn’t give the game away.

    Sweet DP started by India. Then the K to end the inning was filthy work!

    Reply
  13. VaRedsFan

    5 innings 1 run for Hoffman. I add that to the “well done” column.

    Reply
  14. JB

    It’s a different year boys!!!! Hitting is coming through!!

    Reply
    • TR

      Base hits, getting runners in scoring position across he plate.

      Reply
  15. Slicc50

    Loving what I am seeing from this team through the first 3 games. I know, only 3 games in. It would be huge to start off the season by taking this series from the Cards. You have to win the home series against these division teams

    Reply
  16. Cubano

    Does anyone think Castellanos swing looks sorta just a bit like Griffey?

    Reply
  17. Mark Moore

    Had to take the dog out and had it on pause. Just now watched Nick C’s 3-run Big Fly.

    Does that put Hoffman in position for a W since they put in Farmer to PH?

    Reply
  18. MBS

    Ok, they survived a little threat, now it’s time to add on.

    Reply
  19. VaRedsFan

    Antone using lots of pitches. He’s just using that many so he can stretch out to be a starter. Give him another inning.

    Reply
  20. JB

    Suarez is totally different this year at the plate. Walking for the 4th? Time and driving the ball to the right side. He did alot of that before he got home run pull happy.

    Reply
  21. Slicc50

    How can you not like this India Kid? Plays like a ten year vet so far.

    Reply
    • Mark Moore

      I could see him at 2B, Garcia at SS, Geno back at 3B, and Moose at 1B.

      Reply
  22. Mark Moore

    Debbie likes this inning!!!

    First RBI for India, correct?

    Reply
  23. Daytonnati

    I am having more fun today than all of last year – and we made the playoffs! 🙂

    Reply
    • Slicc50

      It is a beautiful thing when your baseball team is playing well. Especially against a team that you are used to watching them collapse against!

      Reply
  24. Mark Moore

    It’s India’s world … we’re just living in it.

    Reply
    • TR

      For me the unspoken vibe comes through from India – this is the big show and I’m going to be a star.

      Reply
  25. JB

    Love the kids! Senzel and India’ s speed and enthusiasm can be contagious to the vets and Stephenson showing he belongs as well.

    Reply
  26. VaRedsFan

    Putting the ball in play… good things can (and are) happening. Rookies coming through.

    Reply
    • Tom Mitsoff

      The game is more fun to watch for me when there are actually things happening in the field, rather than just strikeout-walk-homer. I’m sure the fact that my team is winning under these conditions also improves my outlook. 🙂

      Reply
      • Sliotar

        Well stated, Tom.

        The Rockies stink, but all their home games are a selection on my MLB.tv multi-feed.

        Lots of activity with that big outfield … and tendency for balls to fly off the bat.

      • VaRedsFan

        Hopefully it will contribute to less feast or famine offense.
        Score 9 in a game, then score 0,1,2,1,3 the next 5 games as in previous years.

    • Mark Moore

      Nice to have an option like that for 4th/5th OF’er.

      Reply
  27. Slicc50

    Man…..I will admit, I don’t know a whole lot about Tyler Naquin. What I am seeing so far is a guy who can play this game well! Hope he can keep it up!

    Reply
  28. Mark Moore

    Wow, wow, WOW!!!

    I seem to recall this is what fun baseball can be. And we’re beating the WLB’s to boot. That’s extra special.

    Reply
  29. Sliotar

    When Antone is getting an AB and comes around to score a run, coming off an injury … sure sign ATOBTTR is very likely arriving soon.

    Reply
  30. Indy Red Man

    Wow! We are wrecking the Cards pitching this series! The offense had to be much better this year so the key will be the pitching depth! Hoffman did well today and I think his career road era is something like 4.66 so thats about normal for a 5th starter.

    India is a breath of fresh air and if we get the Cubs Castellanos then look out!

    Reply
  31. JB

    Cardinals are just flashing that gold glove defense today.

    Reply
    • Mark Moore

      Last one was just out of DeJon’s reach. That one he peeked at Joey and muffed it flat-out.

      Reply
      • JB

        Arenado’s bone headed play by trying to get the runner at second instead of the sure out at first to me is like an error. Minimize the damage and get your team off the field. Next guy up 3 run homer.

    • Mark Moore

      Exactly, JB. Mental error and hand it to Tejay for the hustle. Really helped his own cause.

      Reply
  32. Mark Moore

    I have to think this is a good morale booster and warm-up for the Pie-Rats coming to town.

    Reply
    • TR

      Don’t take the Pirates for granted. The Reds have been surprised before when they overlooked them.

      Reply
  33. RojoBenjy

    Fellow Reds fans,

    Let’s keep enjoying this game! When our team wins it’s fun. When the cardinals get embarrassed it’s fun. Combining the two things in the same game?

    Priceless

    Reply
    • Mark Moore

      +10K

      It’s the greatest of fun. And we got treated to a minor-melee on the field as well.

      Reply
    • JB

      Not to mention when the benches clear and our team comes back and puts on a beat down between the lines- priceless.

      Reply
  34. Tom Mitsoff

    This run production over the first three games is shocking, shocking, shocking to me. After last year, with a .210 team batting average and zero offense in the playoffs, there is no way I thought this team would be able to reverse that. Can it really be as simple to explain as a change in approach from trying to hit fly balls to trying to hit line drives? If so, just wow.

    That all being said, Castellanos looks early on like the kind of hitter that could carry a team and maybe be in the MVP race.

    I know, I know — small sample size. But the difference from last year to this is visibly noticeable and amazing.

    Reply
    • Mark Moore

      All true, Tom. But this is where it starts. 3 against the Pie-Rats and we could have a good start heading West.

      Last year, I was prepared to write and pitch an article to Doug about the 1990 set of baseball cards I scored and the 30-year remembrance of that magical year. Since last year was a complete push all around, perhaps I’ll take some inspiration from the early season and do that article. The worst that could happen is Dog says “No, thanks” … 🙂

      Reply
    • JB

      I dont find it shocking because the 56 game schedule got into everybodys head last year. Look around the league at who did terrible last year and it is peppered with stars who had terrible years. With 162 games it settles guys down and they know it’s a 6 month season.

      Reply
  35. earmbrister

    Thoroughly enjoying the beatdown of the Whiny Little Birds!

    Gonna go get some exercise. Happy Easter everyone!!!

    Reply
  36. Mark Moore

    And think about the guys we have still re-habbing down I-70. Shogo, Gray, Lorenzen … everyone of them a potential upgrade/addition to what we’re already seeing.

    Reply
    • Tom Mitsoff

      If Shogo were ready to come back tomorrow, who would go? Not an easy choice!

      Reply
      • Mark Moore

        Difficult choice indeed. Seems AA is the odd man out given Naquin’s flexibility, but I realize that means a DFA or trade.

  37. JB

    Jim Day talking about Bench hitting 7th in 76, I look back on those 75-76 batting orders and Foster was batting 8th in a couple of those games. Imagine facing Sarge in the 8 hole. Those were great teams to watch in the 70s

    Reply
    • Tom Mitsoff

      Agreed. I was too young to appreciate that I was watching perhaps one of the top two or three teams of all time.

      Reply
      • Daytonnati

        Tom – Roger Angell, the legendary sports writer at the New Yorker, wrote a book called “Five Seasons”. It covers MLB from 1972 to 1976. He has some great observations about The Big Red Machine. I think it would still be in print. He confirms that we were witnessing one of the most dominant baseball teams of all-time. I think you would enjoy it.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        You have Morgan, Perez, Bench and Sparky Anderson all from that team in the Hall of Fame, and I believe Concepcion also belongs.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        And of course, Pete Rose is the all-time hit leader. Clearly would be in the Hall of Fame if not for other circumstances.

    • Mark Moore

      Those were a joy to watch. Living in Upstate NY among NYY fans at the time.

      Reply
      • JB

        Also live in Upstate NY and my brother was a RedSox fan. 75 was amazing in our house. Lol

  38. Mark Moore

    Blandino showing how to play add-on. And love Stephenson’s hustle.

    Reply
  39. Magnum 44

    Not going lie not but he feels like a George Grand on steroids he tells stories he is telling stories he reads off the internet but he should stick to the play by play and give the stories to the color guys I really wish they would of stuck with Jim Day he knows the players…… I am 40 something I don’t want to hear about the big red machine or the nasty boys…… I know they were great I want to know about this year’s team.

    Reply
    • MBS

      I feel as he is cliche heavy, I’m hoping I’ll get used to it. If you’re 40 something then the Nasty Boys should be right up your ally.

      Reply
      • TR

        The Nasty Boys and the Big Red Machine are history. History is big with the Reds having been established in 1869.

    • VaRedsFan

      I like the booth. Jim Day still does the player stories.
      Larkin is good, he just needs to stick with baseball instead of voicing his political opinions.
      It goes without saying, but these guys are light years better than THOM! ever was.

      Reply
      • RojoBenjy

        Yes—anyone but THom is always an improvement

    • JB

      I’ll take anybody instead of Thom wishing everybody in the state of Ohio or Kentucky a happy birthday. As well hearing about every High School or College in Ohio or who is from Ohio for the 9,000 time.

      Reply
  40. Tom Mitsoff

    If you had Sal Romano leading National League relief pitchers in games finished (3) after the first three games, go cash in on that amazing bet.

    Reply
    • Mark Moore

      The odds on that have to mean $1 gets you a couple million … maybe more.

      Reply
  41. Mark Moore

    It’s been a fun afternoon with y’all, my friends. Here’s to many, many more with a similar result.

    Reply
  42. Mark Moore

    Those awkward moments when Jim Day’s questions are 20x as long as Nick C’s answers …

    Reply
    • MBS

      I honestly think he was pouting because he was pulled in a blowout. He wants to play so much, he doesn’t know how to handle not being in. There are worse problems to have.

      Reply
      • TR

        Castellanos pouting? I doubt it. He’s obviously a man of few words who naturally wants to win and is now the leader of this team. Lets not make a problem where there isn’t any.

  43. James

    Boy ,did the Reds play well today! Jeff Brantley said that the Reds were arguably the best opposite field hitting team in baseball right now! Castellanos did awesome and our hitting in general was absolutely amazing.
    12 to 1 ball game. No joke! Lets keep this going all year!

    Reply
  44. JB WV

    What a great Easter: beautiful weather, time with family, and a big, bad beat down of the Cards. In the background I’m really hoping that Garcia can blossom as a hitter this year at AAA to set up a young and feisty core with India, Senzel, and Stephenson.

    Reply

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